Billionaire Actress Zhao Wei Purportedly Flees China, Is Scrubbed From the Mainland’s Internet

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Zhao Wei attends the closing ceremony of the 73rd Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 10, 2016 in Venice, Italy. (Image: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Award winning Chinese actress, director and successful business woman, Zhao Wei, has reportedly fled China after being completely scrubbed from the internet in the People’s Republic. 

Beijing authorities have blacklisted the billionaire from all social media platforms in China and have ordered that all her works be pulled from streaming sites in the country for reasons that are yet to be revealed. 

Not only was Zhao’s film and television works scrubbed from the internet but her name was removed from all lists of creators. The blacklisting even went as far as to strip her of her attribution rights to a play she produced years ago. 

All discussions concerning Zhao have been censored on Chinese social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat, as the Chinese government continues a crackdown on the entertainment industry and the excesses of celebrity fan culture.

The crackdown has affected several Chinese artists. Recently, Canadian-Chinese star Wu Yifan was arrested, Zhao Wei’s artist Zhang Zhehan was completely banned over a Japanese shrine photo incident, singer Huo Zun announced his retirement from acting, and Zheng Shuang was retroactively charged taxes and additional late fees and was fined $299 million RMB ($US46.24 million). 

On Saturday, Aug. 28 reports surfaced that Zhao had fled China on a private jet and was seen at the Bordeaux airport in France.  Zhao and her husband, Huang Youlong, own a vineyard in France located just outside Bordeaux called Chateau Monlot.

As rumors swirled, Zhao took to Instagram on Sunday posting that she had not fled the country and was in fact staying with her parents in Beijing, denying that she was in France. The Instagram post however was later deleted. 

Zhao, also known as Vicky or Vicki Zhao, rose to stardom after her breakout role in the popular television series “My Fair Princess” and starred in the blockbuster films “Shaolin Soccer” and “Lost in Hong Kong.”

While authorities have yet to release any details as to why Zhao has been blacklisted many believe her blacklisting may be due to allegations of financial impropriety as well as a number of other historical scandals. 

In 2018, Zhao and her husband were barred from acting as listed company executives for five years by the Shanghai Stock Exchange due to issues and irregularities related to a takeover bid in 2016. 

The Billionaire couple are close friends with Jack Ma, another target of Beijing authorities, and were early investors in Alibaba Pictures Group reportedly purchasing 1.93 billion shares in the company making them the second largest shareholder.